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One man is awaiting sentencing in the hazing death of Florida A&M University band member Robert Champion.
Former FAMU band player Dante Martin has been convicted of manslaughter and felony hazing in the case, the Associated Press reports. Pegged as a ringleader in the hazing that led to Michael’s tragic passing, Dante was formerly known as “the president of Bs C”; he would direct the initiation ritual, where newbies made their way through a gauntlet of drumsticks, mallets and fists as they ran from the front of Bus C to the back.
Robert passed awa after the November 2011 “Crossing of Bus C” ritual, where he was third in line. After making it to the other end of the tunnel, he had trouble breathing and threw up. Then he collapsed in the parking lot and died.
Dante is convicted with misdemeanor hazing in relation to the other two beatings from that evening. However, he could be sentenced to as much 15 years in prison when he is sentenced in Robert’s death on January 9.
The defense argues that “Crossing Bus C” should not be classified as hazing because the students participated in the event voluntarily to prove how tough they are. “You can’t take it in isolation and act like it was just any other band,” defense attorney Richard Escobar said stated closing arguments. “Brutal as it was, foolish as it was…it was competitive.”